Literary Argument Writing: Gather Evidence and Reflect on Multiple Perspectives | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2019 G6:M3:U3

Literary Argument Writing: Gather Evidence and Reflect on Multiple Perspectives

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In Unit 3, students begin their work with literary argument essay writing. They apply the Painted Essay® structure to this new type of writing, evaluating how it changes when applied to writing a literary argument. As they have done previously, students deconstruct the model and complete a collaborative practice argument essay. In each lesson, students look at a discrete aspect of the argument essay model and practice using it in their own writing. In response to an open-ended prompt, they brainstorm possible reasons to support two different positions. They collect textual evidence for both sides of the argument and connect the evidence to the reasons with sound reasoning. Finally, students determine their strongest argument and make a claim. Using these skills practiced with a partner, students are then prepared to independently plan and draft an argument essay to answer the prompt: Should Cal return to Challagi Indian Industrial School?

After writing their essay for the mid-unit assessment, students are ready to move towards the culmination of the module, an audio museum exhibit featuring the voices of American Indian boarding school students. First, students will select a text (a poem, personal narrative, etc.) written by a survivor of the boarding schools, one that resonates with them personally. They respond to this reading by writing a preface to provide context and a reflection to explain why the text is meaningful. Using the recording application first introduced in Unit 2, students record themselves reading their preface, text, and reflection aloud using proper and respectful intonation, volume, and pacing. This recording will be used for both the performance task and the End of Unit 3 Assessment. Students record two versions of their performance task contribution and then reflect on and self-assess each for their volume, pronunciation and language use. Students use their observations about their first attempt to improve their performance on the second attempt. Finally, they listen to a peer’s second recording and reflect on and paraphrase the content and assess their peer’s volume, pronunciation, and language use in that second performance.

To showcase their recordings, the class prepares listening stations where guests of the audio museum can listen and learn about American Indian boarding schools. Learning from the module and the performance task synthesizes in a concluding whole class discussion about the importance of honoring diverse experiences and perspectives.

Please note: For the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum, there are Teaching Notes for each unit that contain helpful information for supporting English language learners. These overview notes complement the more specific English language learner supports and differentiated materials within each lesson. You will find the Teaching Notes in the Unit download below.

CCS Standards

The Four Ts

  • Topic: American Indian boarding schools
  • Task: 
    • Write a literary argument essay (W.6.1, W.6.4, W.6.5, W.6.6, W.6.9a, W.6.10, L.6.2, L.6.3, L.6.6) about whether or not Cal should return to Challagi Indian Industrial School (RL.6.1, RL.6.3, RL.6.10), using reasons and evidence to defend a claim.
    • Record a performance task contribution and then reflect on and self-assess for (W.6.10) volume, pronunciation and language use (SL.6.2, SL.6.6, L.6.6). Provide feedback on a peer's recording (RI.6.1, RI.6.6, W.6.10).
  • Targets: RL.6.1, RL.6.3, RL.6.10, RI.6.1, RI.6.6, W.6.1, W.6.4, W.6.6, W.6.9a, W.6.10, SL.6.2, SL.6.6, L.6.2, L.6.3b, L.6.6 (optional L.6.1)
  • Texts: Two Roads by Joseph Bruchac


Each unit in the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize students' understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Habits of Character/Social-Emotional Learning Focus

Central to the EL Education curriculum is a focus on "habits of character" and social-emotional learning. Students work to become effective learners, developing mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration); work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion); and work to contribute to a better world, putting their learning to use to improve communities (e.g., citizenship, service).

Students focus on becoming effective learners by persevering as they read and analyze a model essay, then collaborate with a peer to plan and draft an essay as practice for the assessment. They contribute to a better world, using their strengths when working with a partner to give and receive feedback on their recordings.

Most importantly, students work to become ethical people by showing respect and compassion when they listen to and reflect upon the recordings of their classmates during the audio museum. Through this performance task, students contribute to a better world by acting as witnesses to this time period, highlighting the experiences and amplifying the voices of American Indian boarding school students.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 10-18 lessons. The Unit-at-a-Glance charts, available on the grade-level landing pages, break down each unit's lessons, showing CCS standards, agenda breakdown, daily learning targets, and ongoing assessments. The charts also indicate which lessons include mid- and end of unit assessments and the performance task.

Texts and Resources to Buy

Texts and resources that need to be procured. Please download the Required Trade Books and Resources Procurement List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
Two Roads
by Joseph Bruchac
one per student
ISBN: 9780735228870

Preparation and Materials

Review the Argument Writing checklist and Model Literary Argument Essay to become familiar with what students will be required to do in this unit (see Lesson 1 supporting materials).

Determine if students will be allowed to type their literary argument essays, and arrange the necessary devices for them to do so.

Considerations for the Performance Task:

  • Preread the personal narratives provided for students to use as their End of Unit 3 Speaking and Listening Assessment (see Lesson 12). Consider adding more options to the list (i.e., adding excerpts from the Independent Research Reading text list.)
  • Determine what technology is needed for students to record their readings. Preview audio recording tools, such as or
  • Gather equipment needed to set up recording stations for each student for use during the End of Unit 3 Assessment.
  • Determine how visitors to the audio museum will listen to the recordings. Preview a QR code generator site such as if planning to use codes to link to audio files.
  • Plan ahead for the performance task; secure a location to set up the audio museum and invite guests from the community, offering specific details about the event.
  • Create a model of the types of visuals one might display at their listening station, such as images of the boarding schools or of the author of the text chosen to be recorded.

The following material is introduced in this unit and referenced throughout both the module and the school year:

  • Characteristics of Effective Argument Writing anchor chart

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